US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that financial sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine were limiting China’s ability to buy Russian oil, adding that Beijing was not “meaningfully offsetting or lessening” pressure on Moscow.
Yellen said Russia was now experiencing a “severe” economic contraction because of the sanctions but declined to offer a specific forecast for Russian output, she said.
“My sense is that financial institutions in China that do business in dollars and in euros are worried about the impact of sanctions,” Yellen said in a Washington Post interview.
In the longer term, she added, US export controls on advanced semiconductors and other technologies will have a negative effect on Russian growth, “degrading Russia’s ability to project power and continue to threaten its neighbours”.
The US Treasury was continuing to add names of Russian elites to its sanctions and asset freeze lists, and is working with western allies to consider further sanctions, Yellen said.
She said she would not expect most European allies to match the US administration’s decision to ban all Russian oil imports, because they have fewer alternative sources of supply.
The US, as a net oil exporter, is less dependent on Russian energy, she said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell